I like to think I can talk about any topic with anyone, even those folks who have a different opinion than mine. I have friends who belong to many different religions and no religion, I respect them all equally. Democrats, republicans, vegans, bacon lovers, pro-choice, right to life, anti-pickle, pr- olive, YES to Pete Rose in the hall of fame, NO-to Pete Rose in the hall of fame….and everything in between. I can respect, discuss and love the differences in people. Then it happened….I found the one topic I am unable or unwilling to negotiate my views on….
Michael. Vick. …. Period.
This is not an easy post to read, it was not an easy post to write and it is nothing compared to the actual suffering of the innocent dogs that were slaughtered and tortured at the hands of Vick and his thugs.
To try to convince a person of just how evil another human being has been by his actions toward animals is completely exhausting. I have done my homework on the case, the man, the compound, the dogs, the acts…all of it. If I was going to have an opinion, I wanted to know the truth, or as much as I could find out regarding what happened even though what I really wanted to do was not to know. I fought it, and I talked myself into the theory that not knowing was okay and that worked…for awhile. I discovered I couldn’t defend my position without knowledge. Now I know too much not to not be enraged by someone’s laissez faire attitude toward Vick. I would like to forgive him, but I don’t know how. The stakes are too high and to think people actually entertain the idea of him owning dogs again baffles my brain. The classic argument is that he “made a mistake and served his time”.
1.) He never served one day for the killing, fighting, abuse or torture the dogs were subjected to at his compound. Even though he bankrolled a massive operation all for the unspeakable acts of cruelty towards dogs, the big man on the field took a plea deal for corruption that freed him from any responsibility of his true evil actions.
2.) People make mistakes. Yes they do, people absolutely make mistakes and sometimes horrible things happen from those mistakes, sometimes people are killed and it is a tragedy. People drive drunk, people get caught up in the heat of the moment and do things that they regret, and sometimes it involves guns and knives and life ending blows. I get it. People make mistakes. However, Micheal Vick did not make a mistake. He spend a lot of time, effort and a ton of money to hire people, organize, build and run this compound that he purchased on 15 acres of private land so he could do what he pleased to these dogs. Bad Newz Kennels was born after Vick purchased 4 innocent pit bull puppies for $1000. The number of dogs grew and when he was finally busted they removed 51 dogs from the compound. According to the federal indictment at least 8 dogs were killed if they did not preform well in the fights by hanging, electrocution or slamming them to the ground repeatedly. Do you know what a rape stand is for a female dog? Football great and Subway sponsored BET “Sportsman of the Year” Mike Vick sure does. Things confiscated in the raid in addition to the rape stands that were used to hold down aggressive females for breeding, they found the following: chains and car axles which they tied the dogs to, break sticks to pry the dogs mouths open, treadmills to condition dogs, and lets not forget what every dog owner uses …performance enhancing drugs. Does ANY of that sound like a mistake? Sure Vick had his thugs working for him but he knew exactly what was happening and actively participated in the killings and bankrolled the whole thing. This is a far cry from any kind of mistake.
The bottom line seems to be that money rules. He has made and will continue to make an obscene amount of money with endorsements for his ability or inability (so far this season he sucks) to throw a football. I like to think that it is karma rearing it’s “you threw how many interceptions?” head. Is it that we really can open our hearts and forgive a man who has done such heinous acts or is it rather our inability to seek out the truth when it just seems too hard to expose ourselves to the evil and monstrous acts of this man? It is easy to excuse his behavior if we keep our eyes closed to it all…or the worst of it anyway…God knows I tried. If you have not read the whole indictment, seen the pictures of what was found in that compound or looked at the faces of the dogs it’s easy to talk yourself into believing it just wasn’t that bad.
“In or about April 2007, PEACE, PHILLIPS, and VICK executed approximately 8
dogs that did not perform well in “testing” sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by various methods,
including hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.”
But…it was that bad.
I would like the NFL commissioner, coaches, and team mates along with the heads of Nike, Subway and all the other companies that support or endorse Vick to experience exactly what it was he created, funded and actively participated in, and profited from. If they can walk away and still give him the “boys club slap on the back” and look the other way then, and only then, will I accept that no one cares about what happened to those dogs and money is more important.
Until then I remain ashamed to be a human being when it comes to Micheal Vick.
I want to end this post with something good, something that shows that in the end love prevails. Judge Henry E. Hudson did not order the dogs confiscated from Vick’s compound to be killed he instead order them to be individually evaluated. All but two went into sanctuaries, foster homes, or were adopted and four of them went on to become therapy dogs. You can read more about the amazing stories of the dogs in the book The Lost Dogs by sports illustrated writer/editor Jim Gorant.
I need to believe we can do better, that we can make a difference in the world for all the animals that suffer, it is my hope together we can try.
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
Here is a heartwarming look at some of the DOGS that have found a new lease on life….it will make you smile. I promise!